By Grant V. Ziegler
If you think your family has issues, then you haven’t met the Parkers.
In We Are What We Are, a remake of a Mexican film of the same name, the Parker family is a reclusive bunch that keeps to themselves, as letting strangers into their lives could very well end their centuries-long custom of consuming human flesh.
As a massive storm approaches and their town readies itself for a flood, the strange yet overly-religious family prepares to carry on its traditions as planned. Frank Parker (Bill Sage, American Psycho), the head of the household takes care of his three children as his wife Alyce (Odeya Rush, The Odd Life of Timothy Green) heads to town to stock up on supplies before the storm. However, Alyce has an accident and dies in the flood, leaving the Parkers to grieve.
But no death or bad weather will ever stop the Parkers’ way of life. Through thick and thin, they stick together despite hesitations of their practices from Iris and Rose, Frank’s daughters. As the floods subside, bones start to surface near the family’s house.
The local doctor who performed Alyce’s autopsy discovers some of human bones while out camping with his dog. As his suspicions of the Parker family grow, so does the awareness of the Parker family. Will the doctor spoil dinner or will the Parkers get to come back for seconds?
This timidly-paced horror film will definitely ruin your appetite. It’s sick, but never goes too far or becomes too ridiculous for the story to become unbelievable. With a soundtrack that compliments the film brilliantly, an ominous tone is set and carried throughout its duration. The Parkers could be considered the Brady Bunch of cannibalism, as their wicked ways make the Manson family seem tame. Frank’s ability to eat people doesn’t faze his conscience because he legitimately believes God has given his family and him the task of ingesting human meat. In other words, his atrocious acts are masked by his religious fanaticism.
Despite the movie’s slow pace, the plot is captivating enough to keep one’s interest. And the ending is satisfying in so many ways. What really set the film apart from other cannibal “eat ‘em up” films was that the characters never seemed like monsters. They seemed just as human as anyone else and could easily be your neighbors.
Iris (Ambyr Childers, Gangster Squad) and Rose (Julia Garner, Perks of Being a Wallflower), the Parker daughters, were stellar in We Are What We Are. They are fully-committed loving daughters for the most part as they try to uphold their family customs, but as their roles change after their mother’s death, a different mindset comes into play. Their fluctuation between cannibals and sweet, lovely girls is executed splendidly. In this reviewer’s opinion, their roles absolutely made the movie.
Without the soundtrack and strong roles from Childers, Garner and Sage, this film would most likely have fallen flat. For its uniqueness and ability to be a superb cannibalistic horror film without having to rely on copious amounts of gore, We Are What We Are gets 4 out 5 stars.